Cauliflower's Secret Nutritional Powers
Clueless about cauliflower nutrition? Chock full of vitamin c, fiber, and potassium; cauliflower is affordable, accessible and may reduce carcinogens.
If you missed the many headlines touting cauliflower nutrition and why this cheap veg became a go-to sub for steak, carbs, pizza crust and rice we're here to catch you up.
First, the facts. A member of the Brassicaceae (cabbage) family, its savvy siblings include broccoli, bok choy, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, and kale. In addition to being eaten raw, cauliflower is versatile roasted, sauteed, pureed, and steamed. It comes in four colors (purple, green, orange, and the well known white)and you see it at your farmer's market but it's primarily grown in California.
Plus, this pale plant provides vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and phytonutrients that may play a role in eliminating carcinogens from the body.
To keep cauliflower's nutritional value intact, it should have compact curds that are clean and uniform in color with no spots or bruising and firm to the touch. Keep it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Cut away the main stem and separate florets before washing. Rapid cooking is best to prevent nutrient loss and to preserve texture and color. Avoid aluminum pots, which may intensify their cabbage-like cooking odor. Check out our recipes which outline multiple ways to prepare based on the desired outcome.
Chives, dill, garlic, lemon, nutmeg, and parsley. For more flavor, share the plate with almonds, bell peppers, carrots, broccoli, and mushrooms, all of which share a complementary flavor profile.
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Cauliflower Nutrition Profile: Potassium-Rich
The last time you had a cold, I bet you didn’t think of cauliflower to help reduce symptoms. You also may not have realized that cauliflower contributes to your daily protein, healthy fat, and healthy carb intake.
Eaten throughout your week, a large head of cauliflower (roughly 6” in diameter) can contribute over 15 grams each of fiber and protein, as well as offer up small amounts of mono and polyunsaturated fats.
One more fun fact? Cauliflower’s nutrition profile also includes calcium for strong bones, iron for red blood cell formation, B vitamins for energy production, and potassium for improved blood pressure.
Why Athlete's Need Cauliflower Nutrition
Potassium is an electrolyte that does more than reduce muscle cramps.
Athletes are constantly looking for greater output, but with less wear and tear on the body. Perhaps one of the most important muscles to reduce wear and tear on is the heart. Potassium works opposite of sodium within the body to maintain fluid balance. By eating adequate amounts of potassium (recommended at 4700mg/day), the kidneys will be forced to excrete excess body fluid to maintain this balance.
A diet rich in potassium helps to relax the walls of the blood vessels, easing the workload placed on the heart. For athletes, that means the potential for an improved resting heart rate, which can lead to gains in your aerobic capacity. Now identified as a nutrient of concern for most Americans, potassium is becoming increasingly important for heart health.
Through various processes in the body, Potassium plays a role for Athletes by assisting:
- Carbohydrate Metabolism
- Protein formation
- Regulation of Blood Pressure
- Heart and Nervous System function
Recipes Designed with Cauliflower Nutrition in Mind
Easy Roasted Cauliflower Steaks
- 1 head cauliflower
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Directions 1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup 2. Peel and trim away cauliflower leaves
- Cut cauliflower into 1” slices (hint: start at the middle of the head and work your way to the outer edges)
- Coat both sides of the cauliflower with olive oil
- Roast in the oven for 40 minutes (or until desired caramelization), flipping gently halfway through. Note: You can add seasonings such as garlic, oregano, or curry, but the taste of the roasted cauliflower is so delicious all on its own)
Cauliflower Pizza Crust
- 1 head cauliflower
- ⅓ cup mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon pink Himalayan sea salt
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon basil
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
Directions 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 2. Remove leaves and stalk from cauliflower. Pulse cauliflower in a food processor until fine. 3. Steam cauliflower until soft. Remove from steamer and spread flat on a towel. Lay another towel on top and press gently into the cauliflower to remove excess moisture. Let sit until cool (roughly 10 minutes). 4. In a bowl, combine lightly beaten eggs and the rest of the ingredients. 5. Add cauliflower to the bowl and mix all ingredients until well combined. 6. Spread cauliflower mixture on the parchment lined baking sheet and gently form into a crust shape. 7. Bake 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and top with your favorite pizza toppings. Return to oven for an additional 10 minutes. Suggested toppings: Instead of pizza sauce, slice fresh tomatoes. Top with additional veggies for even more fiber and plant nutrients. The cheese in the crust means you don’t need as much on top
Cauliflower Fried Rice
- 1 head cauliflower
- 1 egg
- 1 small onion
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp (low sodium)soy sauce
- Optional but suggested:
- ½ cup frozen peas, thawed
- ½ cup frozen corn, thawed
Directions 1. Heat a large skillet or wok on medium high heat, add olive oil. 2. Peel and trim away cauliflower leaves, chop cauliflower until rice-like consistency (or use food processor). 3. Add onion, peas, and corn to the skillet and heat until onion is tender. Push to one side. 4. Add egg to open side of skillet and scramble. 5. Add cauliflower to skillet and mix all ingredients together until heated through. Add soy sauce to coat. 6. Serve immediately.
Easy Cauliflower Mash
- 1 large cauliflower
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 tbls extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley (optional garnish)
Directions 1. Chop cauliflower into small pieces, transfer to a steamer and steam until fork tender (roughly 8-10 minutes depending on chop size). 2. Meanwhile, Heat olive oil in a skillet. Chop garlic and add to skillet until lightly browned and fragrant. 3. Add steamed cauliflower to the skillet and saute for a few minutes, combining with garlic. 4. Transfer to a food processor and blend until the consistency of mashed potato, enjoy. Optional add-ins during step 4: For additional flavor, add in a half cup of your favorite hummus. For creaminess, stir in ½ cup plain Greek yogurt.
Turmeric and Curry Cauliflower
- 1 large cauliflower, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan sea salt (optional)
Directions 1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add curry powder, turmeric, and red pepper stirring constantly for 1 minute. 2. Add cauliflower, onion, and salt (optional). Cook, stirring constantly for 2 - 3 minutes or until onion is crisp-tender. 3. Reduce heat, add 6 tablespoons water, Cover and cook 8 -10 minutes, or until cauliflower is tender.
Hearty Cauliflower Soup
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 cups plus 1 tsp. water
- ½ tsp pink Himalayan sea salt
- 1 cauliflower head, trimmed and cut into florets
- 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
- Optional toppings:
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Plain Greek yogurt
Directions 1. In a Dutch Oven, add onion, ½ teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Stir in 4 cups water and half of the cauliflower florets and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Add remaining half of cauliflower and simmer until tender, about 10 more minutes.
Working in batches, carefully transfer soup to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Return soup to the pot and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Whisk cornstarch with remaining 1 teaspoon water, stir into soup and simmer 2 minutes.
Add more water if needed to achieve desired consistency. Portion into bowls and top with optional cheddar cheese, greek yogurt, and pepper.
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Recipe courtesy of fresherica.com and photo cred: @fresh.erica.